Team Discovery Channel Announces Tour de France Roster
Team looks to compete and challenge in post-Lance Armstrong era.
The Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team announced today its roster of exceptional riders who will compete in the 2006 Tour de France from July 1-23. Team Discovery Channel sports director Johan Bruyneel made the announcement today and listed the nine-rider team as follows: George Hincapie, Yaroslav Popovych, Paolo Savoldelli, Jose Azevedo, Egoi Martinez, Pavel Padrnos, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Benjamin Noval , and Jose Luis Rubiera. Additionally, Vladimir Gusev and Michael Barry have been listed as reserves . The nine Discovery Channel riders will compete in the 93rd Tour de France made up of a prologue time trial and 20 stages that will cover a total distance of
?Although 2006 will be my first Tour de France as a director without Lance on the team, I am extremely motivated to have our team continue to be a major factor in this race,? remarked Johan Bruyneel. ?I had a similar feeling in 1999, when we came in as an underdog even though we had strong riders. I am confident that with the team we are bringing that we can have at least one of our riders finish in a top placing in
?While Lance won?t be leading the team on his bike, his presence will be felt along with the leadership of Johan Bruyneel, the finest cycling coach in the world,? said Billy Campbell, President Discovery Networks,
Following is a synopsis of each rider?s performance in the 2006 season, along with his strengths and accomplishments going in to the Tour de France:
George Hincapie - If ever there has been a consistent stand-by for the Discovery Channel team it has been George Hincapie. The only athlete to ride along Lance in all seven Tour victories, George knows what it takes to excel in this race. In the past two years George has gone from being a one-day racer and sprinter to a true tour contender. Having won the biggest mountain stage of the 2005 Tour he has focused his 2006 campaign on preparing specifically for the Tour de France in hope of being the team leader. George showed tremendous early season form by winning two stages at the Tour of California, placing second in the individual Time Trial and fifth overall at the Three Days of DePanne, as well as third at the Tour of Flanders and fifth at Gent-Wevelgem. Unfortunately he suffered a setback crashing out at Paris-Roubaix while